Monday, August 20, 2007

A Good Training Week!

Well, perhaps doing less than I'd hoped during my recent Hawaii trip has still helped my training.

First of all, I forgot to mention that while in Kona I got a private swim lesson from powerhouse Karlyn Pipes-Nielson to learn her so-called "Wide Entry Freestyle" swim style, which looks much like you're paddling an imaginary surfboard underneath you while swimming (see a clip from her instructional video). It's quite different than the Total Immersion (TI) swim style I learned a year and a half ago when I started swimming. Good body position and balance in the water are still very important but there's much less body roll involved and much more focus on stroke mechanics (in particular, a high elbow catch and a much straighter arm recovery). Instead of swimming on one's side to go faster through the water, the idea is to hydroplane on top of it.

I won't argue which swim style is faster from a hydrodynamics perspective but will say that Karlyn's swim style seems to be working for me so far. Namely, I'm now able to swim easy-paced 100 yard repetitions nearly as fast as I could sprint 100 yards before (2:05-2:10, excluding rests). I've still got a lot of work to do to be able to swim long continuously with the new swim style, but my goal of swimming 1.2 miles in 50-55 minutes (a 2:30-2:45 100m swim pace) at Miami Man in early November looks very doable even if I have to take some breaks to do the breast stroke to sight and actively rest. And a wetsuit should help!

This week I also noticed some progress in my cycling. For one thing, my cadence meter is now working because Dave fixed it and it's reading above 85 RPMs most of the time (last time it was working I had difficulty staying above 80). And during our training rides in the Orlando area, I'm rarely drafting and my speedometer has still been reading 20-22 mph pretty regularly with occasional max speeds reaching 26-27 mph on some of my short sprints. The Miami course should be similar barring any hurricanes.

It seems my cycling improvements have come in about 6 month intervals. After 6 months I finally stopped falling over. After 12 months I felt comfortable riding on the roads and could do some group riding (drafting, pulling, pointing, yelling, etc). After 18 months, I don't need to draft to go 20+ mph, am spinning as I should for better efficiency and can get up out of my saddle to go up hills and sprint. In another 6 months, who knows?

My running is pretty much the same, however. But a 2-3 hour run still feels as it did a few months ago, which is good considering the summer heat. My next marathon, the Siouxland Lewis & Clark Marathon in Sioux City, Iowa, is not until October 20th and my goal is just to finish since Miami Man is only 3 weeks later. I'll probably only add in a little faster running as the weather begins to cool off, not much more mileage.

This Thursday Dave and I are headed to Wichita Falls, Texas, to join the spandex-clad hoards that will be at the Hotter 'n Hell 100 bike ride. We opted to go only 100K (there were 100 mi, 100K, 50 mi, 25 mi and 10K options) to make sure we can finish without Dave overheating and in plenty of time to be able to fulfill other family obligations we will have during our trip (his folks live in Wichita Falls and his sister about an hour away).

Our mantra during the ride will be: Hotter 'n Hell, Cooler Than Florida. At least, we hope it will be in the morning :-)


Susan said...

Wichita Falls is within an hour of my husband's hometown in Oklahoma. I have been to WF!

I bet it WILL be hot there... so your mantra will work wonders!

Wendy said...

I think that there is a wide variance within certain basic constructs for different swim styles and different body types.

American swim great Janet Evans has a book out right now (Janet Evans Total Swimming), that was reviewed by Tony Austin at SCAQ. He pulled a great quote:

"The focus on swim training is often on lowering stroke count to increase speed, and that tactic is solid as long as efficiency is not lost. My stroke count was quite high--about 40 strokes per 50 meters compared with 25 for the larger swimmers--but my strong pull and push underwater and rapid tempo combined to create an efficient stroke that earned me a gold medal against larger swimmers in that 400-meter freestyle race." -- Janet Evans

ShirleyPerly said...

Thanks Wendy for that quote. It's nice to hear great swimmers say what works for them contradicts popular thought and why.

Perhaps the most valuable thing that Karlyn taught me was how to experiment. She never said her style was the "right way" to swim, rather that I should try it and see for myself. And so far, I'm liking it.

We'll see how it goes ...

rueschmike said...

The forecast for Saturday is a high of 94 with wind blowing SSE at 8 mph. There is a 30 percent chance of rain.

Brent Buckner said...

Great progress!